…asking for a friend. 🤔
A few weeks back, the city once again sent out an alert: the apples in the city apple orchard were ready to be picked. So for the love of all that is holy, come and relieve them of these apples. Branches break, people get zonked by falling apples, the ground gets covered, so they seriously encourage people to “come and get it.” They are as organic as they come – other than some pruning, the city does nothing to them.
Roger’s Grove Nature Area consists of 54.9 acres adjacent to the St. Vrain Greenway and includes Fairgrounds Lake, trails, a shelter, outdoor amphitheater, restrooms, native landscaping, demonstration gardens and an apple grove with fruit free for your harvest! Design and construction of the nature area was primarily funded by the Roger and Roberta Jones Foundation. Roger Jones (1915-1995), enjoyed walking along the river with his wife Roberta (1913-1992). Both educators in the St. Vrain Valley School system, the Jones’ wanted to contribute an environment for children and adults to visit, learn and enjoy. Roger’s Grove was developed as a nature area, arboretum and outdoor learning center.
…there are about 50 apple trees, of eight varieties, planted at Roger’s Grove, and they have not been sprayed with pesticides.
With all my apples, I made my Perfect Apple Crisp, recipe here, with a bit of twist. I came away with quite a few apples, and while a few are good to eat, most are better for baking. They sat in my fruit drawer for a week, and I decided I needed to do something with them, especially since I didn’t know if any of them were buggy – I didn’t want the bugs to multiply.
So I dumped them all in the sink, washed them and then sliced them up. I put them in my Multi-Pot (Instant Pot twin) and threw in about 1/2 cup of brown sugar, a dash of salt and just enough water to keep it from burning before the apples let go their juice. I set it for three minutes, assuming much of the cooking would take place while it pressurized. It was a good call.
I did the fast-release method, and the apples were perfect. Still had some shape and I thought would be great for baking. I had planned to freeze some, but best-laid plans and all, I instead went on an apple crisp spree. I’ve baked three in the last two weeks. Mmm–mmmm.
Oh, and those chicken thighs – I’ll put that recipe up later. Until then…
My garden was hit with both hail and an infestation of earwigs. I managed to get a small crop of tomatoes, jalapenos and potatoes despite the destruction. The ducks have been great at keeping the rest of the pests at bay, but earwigs are nocturnal, so they managed to escape the duck patrol.
My dad and youngest brother sent home cucumbers and jalapenos on my last trip, so I decided it was time to put everything to good use before they went bad on my counter.
First up, Easy Salsa, recipe here.
I love pickled jalapenos, so I wanted to pickle some this summer. I have had plenty, but I thought if I was going to do that, it wouldn’t hurt to have extra from my brother. Add my dad’s huge English cucumbers and I got a fresh, spicy combo that is terrific on everything, especially grilled hot dogs. Yum.
Pickled Jalapeno-Cucumber Relish
- 10 large jalapenos
- 1 large cucumber (or two medium)
- 2 tsp fresh dill (opt)
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled, quartered
- 1 cup water
- 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 3 tbsp sugar
jars, blender, saucepan
You can rough chop all the vegetables, since this will be run through either a food processor or blender. If you want to tone down the spice – remove the seeds and ribs from the jalapenos. I did not peel the cucumber because it was garden fresh.
I added just a touch of dill – because I thought the cucumbers would need it. It’s not overwhelming and it could easily be omitted.
In the saucepan combine water, vinegars, sugar and salt. Bring to a low boil
In the blender or food processor, add jalapenos, cucumbers, herbs and garlic and just enough water to cover. Pulse until all the ingredients are finely chopped. Add to boiling mixture, bring back to a boil, reduced heat and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool before adding to sterilized glass jars.
I did not can this recipe – jars will last about two weeks in the refrigerator. I froze several of the jars and they should last a good six months.
As a side note – those are grapes from my vines. I have one red vine and one concord vine. Last year they were barren, the year before they tasted like concord grapes, this year the vines are overflowing and taste sweet and are almost seedless. This fall I’m going to espalier them to create a screen and hopefully keep the dogs out of them. It’s been a challenge this year. Bixby loves to pick them off the vines and grapes are not good for dogs.
Photo of yummy potato salad by JeffreyW, of course
At the last-minute yesterday, I decided we needed potato salad at our cookout. Luckily, electric pressure cooker to the rescue. Four minutes cooking time, about 10 minutes prep. I left potatoes and eggs in the fridge to cool while we ran around. Added mayo, mustard, some dill pickle juice just before dinner and served with grilled hamburgers and corn. Yum.
Perfect Picnic Potato Salad
- 6 large potatoes, peeled, cubed
- 4 large eggs
- 1/2 small yellow onion, finely diced
- mayo and yellow mustard to taste – I used less than a cup of mayo and about 1/4 cup mustard – but I know some people like a lot more. I added a 1/4 cup of dill pickle juice
- salt and pepper to taste
Add the steaming basket to the pressure cooker. Add cubed potatoes (and you don’t need to be too fancy with cutting the pieces – just relatively same size for uniform cooking). Place washed eggs on top of the potatoes. Close the unit, set to steam for 4 minutes. When finished, use the rapid release method to ensure eggs don’t over cook and potatoes stay firm.
Add eggs to a cold water ice bath. Remove potatoes and drain excess water. Add to large serving bowl. Peel eggs, wash and cube. Add to potatoes. Let cool completely before mixing so as not to turn the potatoes into mush.
Once cooled, add remaining ingredients and fold until well mixed. Let sit for about 10 minutes before serving.
Serves 6 easily
Yummy photo by the great JeffreyW
I have used my Multi-Pot consistently for the last few weeks. I made two batches of soup, pulled pork, pasta sauce and two batches of rice. The first batch of rice I was all cocky and used the simple pressure cooker setting and my own time – because you know, I’m the Queen of Pressure Cooking – well, that didn’t turn out very well. I mean, it was great sticky rice, but I was going for light and fluffy. So the next batch I used the Rice Button! I mean, come on, a pot you can just push RICE and 10 minutes later have fluffy rice – why was I fighting it??
The buttons on this brand are easy and intuitive to use. It does help that I’m familiar with what times work well with my stove top cooker and there are good resources in the booklets that came with the machine to help pick timing.
My first batch of soup was to make Beef with Barley Soup:
I quickly and easily sauteed the onions and browned the beef with about a tablespoon of olive oil. Then added the remainder of the ingredients, sealed it shut and turned it to the Meat/Stew setting and set it for 30 minutes.
It took it 10 minutes to come to pressure – which didn’t surprise me because I filled it to the highest mark allowed.
The soup was delicious – I could easily leave it on warm, open the lid and let sit and fill the house with yummy soup smells as long as I desired. It was good and tasty. And clean up was a breeze – just tossed the insert into the dishwasher.
The one part of this electric pressure cooker that has been a learning curve for me is the quick -release method. I am so used to taking the pot over to the sink and running cold water over the top. With this, they say to just turn the pressure valve to open. Which sounds easy-peasy. EXCEPT it spews greasy, starchy steam all over my kitchen cabinets.
The solution is fairly simple – I grabbed an old kitchen towel and cover the valve with that as it releases. Takes a bit longer, but no mess and no risk of a scary steam burn.
So for this recipe, I’d give the Multi-Pot a solid A.
I know, I know I promised a puppy update…give me a few minutes. Until then…
Creamy Roasted Poblano Soup
- 4-5 poblano peppers – roasted, peeled and seeded
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1/2 sweet yellow onion, rough chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, rough chopped
- 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock or water (I used water)
- 1 cup milk or cream
- salt and pepper
- shredded sharp cheddar or Crema Mexicana
This is so easy. I had frozen, roasted poblano chiles, so all I had to do was thaw, skin and seed them. But if you have fresh chiles, heat them under the broiler for 5 minutes (watch carefully and turn as needed) until the skins are blackened on all sides. Cool and then slip off the skins. Slice open and use the knife to remove seeds and ribs (usually just be scraping with the knife). Rough chop.
In a saucepan, heat butter and add chopped onions. Saute until they are translucent, add chopped garlic and heat through before adding the chiles. Stir for a moment until everything is coated in butter. Remove from heat and add to blender, along with water or stock. Blend until smooth and creamy.
Add back to saucepan, along with milk, and bring to a very low boil, stirring constantly, reduce heat to low. Add salt and pepper to taste and let simmer for 8-10 minutes. Just before serving add the juice of 1/2 lime (more to taste). Garnish each bowl with cilantro and cheese.